Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Last year the Issa Trust Foundation and Couples Resorts partnered with the University of Iowa Children's Hospital (UICH) and Global Healing in the United States to establish a paediatric medical clinical rotation in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
The medical rotation would be on a 30-day basis over the next five years, with the aim being to make Jamaica self-sufficient in its paediatric needs at the end of the period.
The rotation officially began on Wednesday when the partnership donated medical equipment valued at more than US$300,000 (approximately J$25 million) to be used in hospitals in Jamaica's eastern region.
The Port Maria and Annotto Bay hospitals, and clinics in St Mary, and the Port Antonio hospital and clinic in Portland are the beneficiaries.
The inventory includes scores of items in more than 30 different categories including: Datascope vital-signs monitor, baby scales, infant monitor, infant warmer, basinet, nebulizer, automatic blood-pressure monitor, intra-aortic balloon pump, infusion pump, IV posts and wheelchairs.
The goods also included office equipment such as desks, chairs, computer tables and a fax machine.
"This programme is composed of an educational and technical focus," explained Diane Pollard, vice president of the Issa Trust Foundation.
Regarding the educational aspect, residents and attendings participating in the programme will rotate at various hospitals within the parishes and work alongside Jamaican doctors, nurses and other medical personnel. Pollard, along with Dr Stacy McConkey from the UICH, will supervise the rotation.
The technical aspect will involve the Ministry of Health and North East Regional Health Authority, with the Issa Trust Foundation evaluating the technological needs of the hospitals and employing volunteer American biomedical engineers to provide training on operation, maintenance and repair of various types of medical equipment.
"The goal is to implement a self-sustained paediatric programme in Jamaica within five years, by providing local staff with clinical training in general paediatric medicine," Pollard explained.
"Issa Trust Foundation has a unique advantage in that we already have an established relationship with the Ministry of Health for six years and we will be, once again, combining forces for this project in order to improve child care in Jamaica."
The presentation took place at the Port Maria hospital with Dr Isaac Brown, parish manager, St Mary Health Services, accepting the donation from Pollard and expressing appreciation.
"Thanks for the contribution. This is a service that is needed in these parts, and all the items will be beneficial to us," he said.
The items will be divided equally among the institutions.
Also present at the symbolic handover were Dr Stacy McConkey, of UICH; Desmond Matthews, acting chief executive officer for Port Maria Hospital; Dr San San Win, medical officer of health for St Mary and Alex Ghisays, group public relations director, Couples Resorts.